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This Australian guy is buying 300 charter buses for an incredible reason.

100,000 homeless folks. 300 busses. And one simple solution.

This Australian guy is buying 300 charter buses for an incredible reason.

In 1993, Simon Rowe hit hard times, and the only place he had to sleep at night was his car.

Two decades later, and no longer homeless, Rowe started looking for a way to give people who are homeless in Melbourne, Australia — like he had been — a place to lay their heads at night.

He explored a bunch of options, and eventually he decided to buy a charter bus, which he’s calling the Sleep Bus.


Rowe in his first bus. All photos from Sleep Bus, used with permission.

Rowe plans to use a fleet of more than 300 buses to aid Australia’s struggling homeless population.

Over 100,000 people are homeless in Australia right now, and more than 6,000 don’t have a place to sleep. Sleep Bus will hopefully provide these folks with private temporary living spaces to rest while they get on their feet again.

Image by Sleep Bus, used with permission.

To fund his passion project, Simon set up a GoFundMe campaign to scrounge up the funds for his first bus.

Within a month’s time, the campaign received donations from all across the globe. Wildly, they raised not only enough money for the first bus, but they're very close to fully funding their pilot program too, which Simon plans to launch in June 2016.

Sleep Bus is similar to a shelter, but with some key differences.

The Sleep Bus is designed to give every occupant their own personal space. Every bus will have 22 sleep pods, two toilets, a personal locker for each guest, eight kennels for animals, and a security system.

Parents will also be given control over the lock of their children’s pods, and there will be an intercom system between them. The bus’s mobility will also allow it to set up camp wherever people who are homeless congregate, as homeless populations tend to change with the seasons.

As for the pods, they’re set up more like hotel rooms than shelters — and that’s a good thing.

Each pod will be outfitted with its own freshly washed linens, a charging station for electronics, a door with a lock that each guest will have control over, climate control, and a television. In addition to regular programming, the TVs in the pods will have a special channel running ads for local support services.

“The TV is strategic, the TV is to help people stay calm, stay quiet ... but it’s also about connection as well,” Rowe explained. “It’s for that connection — to catch up on the news, or shows they used to watch, or to find out what’s happening in the world that they may have missed. To start them thinking on the path out of homelessness.”

But a place to sleep is, of course, only one piece of the puzzle that is homelessness.

Rowe acknowledges that Sleep Bus is just one solution to one problem for people who are homeless. They also need clothing, food, somewhere to shower, a pathway to permanent shelter, and — as Rowe pointed out — hygiene products for women. “As a man, I’d never thought of that before,” he admitted.

But he also hopes that the buses will be a good place to start, especially because a good night’s rest is a stepping stone toward aiding the even bigger issue of mental illness among the homeless.

Some reports indicate that in Australia up to 85% of folks without a home suffer from severe mental illness. Lack of sleep tends to make existing mental health conditions worse, and some symptoms of mental health problems can be alleviated by sleep. This makes resources like the Sleep Bus an important piece in solving the problem that is homelessness.

Sleep Bus has a lot of potential — but it all starts with that first bus.

There’s still a lot of work to do until the first buses launch in June, but that hasn’t deterred Rowe in the slightest. In fact, the short timeline seems to have energized him.

"Perhaps a young lad has problems with mom and dad, ends up out on the street,” Rowe said, "We'll catch this person. They won't fall deeper into the cycle of homelessness."

Simon hard at work converting his new bus into a Sleep Bus.

Rowe's unique idea for helping people "sleeping rough" on the streets is one filled with hope, and it has resonated with thousands of people already.

If you're interested in learning more and potentially helping Sleep Bus, you can consider donating on Rowe's GoFundMe page.

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Amazon

Shopping sustainably is increasingly important given the severity of the climate crisis, but sometimes it's hard to know where to turn. Thankfully, Amazon is making it a little easier to browse thousands of products that have one or more of 19 sustainability certifications that help preserve the natural world.

The online retailer recently announced Climate Pledge Friendly, a program to make it easier for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products. To determine the sustainability of a product, the program partnered with third-party certifications, including governmental agencies, nonprofits, and independent labs.

With a selection of items spanning grocery, household, fashion, beauty, and personal electronics, you'll be able to shop more sustainably not just for the holiday season, but throughout the year for your essentials, as well.

You can browse all of the Climate Pledge Friendly products here, labeled with an icon and which certification(s) they meet. To get you on your way to shopping more sustainably, we've rounded up eight of our favorite Climate Pledge Friendly-products that will make great gifts all year long.

Amazon

Jack Wolfskin Women's North York Coat

Give the gift of warmth and style with this coat, available in a variety of colors. Sustainability is built into all Jack Wolfskin products and each item comes with a code that lets you trace back to its origins and understand how it was made.

Bluesign: Bluesign products are responsibly manufactured by using safer chemicals and fewer resources, including less energy, in production.


Amazon

Amazon All-new Echo Dot (4th Gen)

For the tech-obsessed. This Alexa smart speaker, which comes in a sleek, compact design, lets you voice control your entertainment and your smart home as well as connect with others.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.


Amazon

Burt's Bees Family Jammies Matching Holiday Organic Cotton Pajamas

Get into the holiday spirit with these fun matching PJs for the whole family. Perfect for pictures that even Fido can get in on.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

Naturistick 5-Pack Lip Balm Gift Set

With 100% natural ingredients that are gentle on ultra-sensitive lips, this gift is a great gift for the whole family.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.


Amazon

Arus Women's GOTS Certified Organic Cotton Hooded Full Length Turkish Bathrobe

For those who love to lounge around, this full-length organic cotton bathrobe is the way to go. Available in five different colors, it has comfortable cuffed sleeves, a hood, pockets, and adjustable belt.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

L'Occitane Extra-Gentle Vegetable Based Soap

This luxe soap, made with moisturizing shea butter and scented with verbena, is perfect for the self-care obsessed.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.

Amazon

Goodthreads Men's Sweater-Knit Fleece Long-Sleeve Bomber

For the fashionable men in your life, this fashion-forward knit bomber is an excellent choice. The sweater material keeps it cozy and warm, while the bomber jacket-cut, zip front, and rib-trim neck make it look elevated.

Recycled Claim Standard 100: Products with this certification use materials made from at least 95% recycled content.

Amazon

All-new Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote

Make it even easier to access your favorite movies and shows this holiday season. The new Fire TV Stick lets you use your voice to search across apps. Plus it controls the power and volume on your TV, so you'll never need to leave the couch! Except for snacks.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.

Of the millions of Americans breathing a sigh of relief with the ushering in of a new president, one man has a particularly personal and professional reason to exhale.

Dr. Anthony Fauci has spent a good portion of his long, respected career preparing for a pandemic, and unfortunately, the worst one in 100 years hit under the worst possible administration. As part of Trump's Coronavirus Task Force, Dr. Fauci did what he could to advise the president and share information with the public, but it's been clear for months that the job was made infinitely more difficult than it should have been by anti-science forces within the administration.

To his credit, Dr. Fauci remained politically neutral through it all this past year, totally in keeping with his consistently non-partisan, apolitical approach to his job. Even when the president badmouthed him, blocked him from testifying before the House, and kept him away from press briefings, Fauci took the high road, always keeping his commentary focused on the virus and refusing to step into the political fray.

But that doesn't mean working under those conditions wasn't occasionally insulting, frequently embarrassing, and endlessly frustrating.

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.